AMMAN, 23 November 2004 - More than 50 members of Arab parliaments adopted on Tuesday the Amman Declaration and Plan of Action for Arab children; these are a result of two-day discussions around various child-related issues which concluded in the Jordanian capital today.
The signing of the Amman Declaration marks the commitment made by parliamentarians from 17 Arab countries to promote awareness and strengthen their role in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its Optional Protocols on child labour and the sexual exploitation of children.
The Amman Declaration commits parliamentarians to a number of concrete actions by 2007 and 2010, including amendments to existing legislation and the allocation of additional financial resources for children. Delegates also pledged to review and improve all existing child rights monitoring mechanisms in their countries.
Seeking to ensure that newly adopted commitments are met, Arab delegates present in Amman have stressed the importance of establishing National Parliamentarian Committees on Child Rights to oversee parliamentary action in favour of children.
At present, several Arab countries are preparing National Plans of Action to meet the promises made at the 2002 United Nations Special Session on Children. New legislation has been issued in some countries in the regions such as Jordan, Egypt and Morocco, to enhance the protection of children and women .
The Arab Parliamentary Union, co-organising the First Arab Parliamentarian Conference along with the Jordanian Parliament, will plan for a regional meeting every two years to take stock of the advancement in achieving the objectives set in the Amman Declaration.
The Amman Declaration is in line with the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its Optional Protocols, ‘A World Fit For Children’ the global declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002, and the Declaration and Plan of Action adopted by the Summit of the League of Arab States in 2004.
“To be able to implement our work in child protection, strong partnerships are needed with governments, professionals, civil society, academic institutions and not least with children themselves,” said Nouridine Bouchkouj, Secretary General of the Arab Parliamentary Union.
At the closing session of the Conference, President of the Jordanian House of Representatives, Abdulhadi Al Majali, recognised the important work carried out by organisations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), supporting this event. He referred to their ongoing technical guidance and future assistance.
“Parliamentarians today have the unique opportunity to devote increased effort to help resolve long-standing issues affecting children in the Arab World that our societies have so far failed to resolve. Today, there is consensus that fiscal and budget planning needs to give absolute priority to children’s issues,” said UNICEF Regional Director Thomas McDermott.
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